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The Great Escape ramps up for ‘historic’ comeback

UK showcase festival and convention The Great Escape (TGE) will return to its in-person format for the first time in two years.

TGE 2022 is set to take place next week (11–14 May) in venues across the seaside city of Brighton, with around 3,500 music industry professionals in attendance.

This year’s edition will showcase 500 emerging artists from all over the world including Baby Queen, Muna, Lynks, Moa Moa, Let’s Eat Grandma and Cassyette.

Running alongside the showcases will be a three-strand conference jointly presented by CMU, which focuses on education, data and video.

“After a two-year absence due to Covid, The Great Escape has been straining at the leash to get back to Brighton to bring the best new music from around the world into the light,” says Rory Bett, CEO of TGE promoter MAMA Festivals.

“Artists have had the gift of time during covid to really engage with their creativity. The 500 stunning bands programmed across 60 indoor venues and outdoor spaces this year, will have some very special and surprising work to perform.”

“Our conference programme seeks to tackle the key issues and questions facing the industry and we will attempt to examine them thoroughly from many different and world authority perspectives. Discovery and networking are always at the heart of TGE and with the current sense of building excitement for the show, mixed with a weather forecast of 21 degrees and a sunny, we plan to come back with a Great Escape for the history books.”

The music + education conference will take place on the first day of the 2022 event, with music educators, music development organisations and the music industry coming together to discuss the best ways to nurture early-career music-makers on and off stage.

“[We’ve] has been straining at the leash to bring the best new music from around the world into the light”

Day two will see the music and data conference, which will put the spotlight on all the ways data now drives success in the music business – from ticketing to marketing and music discovery to streaming.

Finally, the music and video conference will give an overview of how video can be a revenue generator for artists, songwriters and the wider music industry.

CMU and TGE are also presenting a series of keynote in-conversations with guests including music PR legend Barbara Charone, who will be talking through the highlights and key moments of her career in the music industry ahead of the publication of her memoir ‘Access All Areas: A Backstage Pass Through 50 Years Of Music And Culture’.

MP and culture select committee member Kevin Brennan and musician and #BrokenRecord founder Tom Gray will also be in conversation.

Elsewhere, Ed Sheeran’s legal team will be discussing the recent headline-grabbing court battle over the star’s hit ‘Shape Of You’.

Organisers of the event also confirmed Ireland as lead country partner, Music Support as the charity partner and music school BIMM as the education partner.

Delegate passes for TGE are still available and can be bought here.

 


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Angus Baskerville to launch new indie agency

Angus Baskerville, the longstanding 13 Artists director and booking agent is moving to new independent agency Pure from 1 January 2022.

The move was announced in an email circulated this afternoon. Others CC’d on the email with a Pure Represents email address include Simon O’ Neill, Brooke Rayner, Hayley Morrison and Aimee Burn – all of whom were previously known to be working for 13 Artists.

Artist manager and Baskerville’s wife Jodie Harkins was also copied in on the email with a Pure Represents email address.

After working as an artist manager and in A&R at London Records, Baskerville joined 13 Artists as an agent in 2004, becoming a partner in 2010. In 2019, Baskerville opened a second 13 Artists office in London, at Tileyard Studios.

Speaking to IQ last year, he said: “I do believe the independent sector has the possibility of thriving in 2021 and beyond, as we’re required to modernise and refresh approaches to the way we work – and do that quickly.”

IQ has contacted Baskerville for comment.

 


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Form: Rockfeedback and One Inch Badge merge

Leading independent UK promoters Rockfeedback and One Inch Badge have announced their merger, creating a new joint venture, Form, with backing from Kilimanjaro Live.

The combined company will produce and promote more than 600 shows across the UK annually. The Rockfeedback (RFB) and One Inch Badge (OIB) brands will continue in their home markets of London and Brighton, respectively, while shows outside those cities will be branded Form Presents.

Kilimanjaro Live – a national promoter majority owned by Germany’s DEAG – joins as a third partner, lending its administrative and infrastructural support while remaining a separate entity.

Form’s combined live roster includes the likes of Flume, Father John Misty, the War on Drugs, Kate Tempest, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bonobo, Johnny Flynn, Fontaines DC, Future Islands, Marika Hackman, Dream Wife and Kurt Vile, while OIB and RFB will continue to collaborate on non-music events and programming for brand clients. (Previous co-productions include book launches and comedy events for Akala, Neil Tennant, Beastie Boys and Kim Gordon and ‘in conversation’ events with Jon Ronson and Making a Murderer.)

“Following on from years of successful collaboration with Alex and all at OIB, we’re delighted to have found a great, natural way to bring our brands together, while creating something that feels new and different,” say RFB directors Dan Monsell and Toby L in a joint statement.

“We’re hugely excited about looking to further enhance the way we work with fantastic performers and servicing their fans as best as possible, for what we believe to be the next generation of classic and vital acts.”

“Following on from years of successful collaboration … we’re delighted to have found a great, natural way to bring our brands together”

Kilimanjaro director Steve Tilley tells IQ the company has taken a stake in Form, and will act as an advisory to the business, lending its support and experience as the new entity grows.

“There’s quite a lot of synergy for Kilimanjaro, as we’re very conscious of the independent promoters,” Tilley explains. “We’re here to help grow what RFB and OIB have done up to this point – and the FORM set-up scales that up really nicely. We’re very excited to be involved.’’

“We’re delighted to launch Form, a new live music and multi-disciplinary arts company that strives to set the path for a more considered and progressive touring opportunity through innovation, curation and new media marketing,” comments OIB director Alex Murray.

“After a decade working as a proudly independent company One Inch Badge are excited to be part of Form with long-term friends and collaborators, Rockfeedback and Kilimanjaro.”

“I’ve known Dan, Alex and Toby for several years and when they first raised the idea of joining forces and inviting Kilimanjaro to become part of their long-term plan, it was a complete no-brainer to me,” adds Tilley. “Dan, Toby and Alex are brilliant, creative and entrepreneurial promoters and Kilimanjaro is very excited to help them build and grow their business and careers.”

 


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TGE 2020 adds more acts ahead of live launch

Fourteen more acts have been added to the Great Escape 2020 line-up, ahead of the showcase festival’s ‘First Fifty’ live launch in London this week.

A total of 50 artists are now on the bill for 2020 event, which will host over 450 acts in total across more than 30 venues.

Newly announced acts include GoGo Penguin, Velvet Negroni, Larry Pink The Human and Evie Irie, joining previously confirmed artists such as Master Peace, Do Nothing, House of Pharaohs and Sons of Raphael.

Many of the TGE 2020 acts are performing tonight (Wednesday 13 November) and tomorrow in ‘First Fifty’ gigs at six venues in East London: Sebright Arms (150-cap.), the Old Blue Last (60-cap.), Colours (300-cap.), the Courtyard Theatre (150-cap.), the Macbeth (300-cap.) and the Curtain – LP Room (160-cap.).

A full list of concerts can be found here, with tickets available for £5 each.

The 15th edition of the Great Escape takes place from 13 to 16 May in Brighton, UK, with South Korea as lead country partner and core conference topics of education, media and global markets. Delegate passes are available here.

 


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The Great Escape unveils 2020 conference details

Showcase festival and convention the Great Escape (TGE) has announced that music education, music media and global markets will form the key themes of its 2020 conference in Brighton, UK.

TGE 2020 will take place from 13 to 16 May in venues across the seaside city of Brighton, with the conference hub located at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfront hotel.

The music education conference will take place on the first day of the 2020 event, with music educators and employers coming together to discuss how music education, the music industry and the music community can better support early-career artists and musicians.

Day two will see the music media conference, which will put the spotlight on how consumers interact with media and influencers. Alongside the sessions will explore who is influencing artists’ fanbases, aside from the music press and radio, exploring options such as social media, playlists, gaming platforms and podcasters.

Finally, the global markets conference will provide an overview of the major trends, developments, challenges and opportunities in each key music market, identifying the strongest revenue streams, services, social media and genres in each region. The conference will also highlight emerging markets including India, China, Brazil, Nigeria and South Korea.

Organisers of the event also confirmed South Korea as lead country partner, following Australia last year and the Netherlands in 2018. Brighton-based charity Grassroots Suicide Prevention is the event’s named charity partner.

“The impact Korean artists are having within the music industry today is very exciting”

Alternative K-pop band Balming Tiger will perform at TGE 2020’s showcase festival, alongside Sons of Raphael, Lazarus Kane and Boy Scouts. More acts are to be confirmed in the run up to the festival.

Last year’s festival saw performances from Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Shame, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Friendly Fires and more.

“We are very excited to be back for another year bringing together top industry professionals and creative minds under one roof,” comments Rory Bett, CEO of TGE promoter MAMA Festivals.

“The impact Korean artists are having within the music industry today is very exciting and it’s important for The Great Escape to put the spotlight on and to celebrate that fact.”

A spokesperson for the music industry team at the Korea Creative Content Agency, Kocca, says it is an “honour” to team up with TGE.

“It will be our fourth year working with the festival and to be named lead country partner for 2020 is a great privilege. It is a very exciting time for the Korean music market and we are looking forward to bringing our new wave of artists to the Brighton shoreline next year.”

Early bird delegate passes for TGE 2020 are available here, priced at £180.

 


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Biggest music line-up ever for Pride events

As London gears up for its Pride parade this Saturday (6 July), live music is playing an increasingly important part in Pride events across the globe, with artists are doing their bit to further equality.

The London event, featuring performances from Billy Porter and X Factor star Saara Aalto, marks the end of Pride month, a worldwide celebration of the LGBT+ community and of that community’s movement for equality.

In June, Pride parades and festivals took place in cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Sydney, with more scheduled throughout the UK and Europe over the coming months.

Pride events in New York saw performances from Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lizzo and Alicia Keys. In Los Angeles Meghan Trainor, Years and Years, Cristian Castro and the Veronicas featured on the Pride festival line-up.

Across the Atlantic, “LGBT+ icon” Kylie Minogue will headline Brighton’s Pride in the Park on Saturday 3 August, fresh from her appearance at Glastonbury Festival. Joining Kylie at the event will be Grace Jones, Jessie J and Clean Bandit.

Manchester is putting on arguably one of the biggest live music events of the Pride calendar, taking over Broadwick Venue’s Mayfield Depot (10,000-cap.) for a ticketed, two-day music event, Manchester Pride Live.

Organisers “expect to see record attendance” as acts such as Ariana Grande, Cheryl and Basement Jaxx prepare to grace the stage.

“Celebrating LGBT+ life means a great deal to each of the artists performing at the festival this year,” Manchester Pride chief executive Mark Fletcher tells IQ.

“Celebrating LGBT+ life means a great deal to each of the artists performing at the festival this year”

“We work closely with agents and management to ensure that all artists are clear on the importance of Pride celebrations and this year we’ve actually received more requests than ever from artists who want to come along to perform at the festival to show their support for the campaign for greater LGBT+ equality.”

The choice of heterosexual Grande as the Manchester Pride Live headliner sparked complaints from some members of the LGBT+ community, according to Variety, as did the selection of non-LGTB+ artists at other Pride events.

However, the Manchester Pride boss states the event always aims “to ensure there is clear representation from LGBT+ artists on the line-up” and stresses that the appearance of any high-profile artists “is very important to our audience”.

“Whether they are LGBT+ or allies, the message that is displayed through the appearance of high-profile artists is clear for the world to see: We stand as one to tackle the inequalities and discrimination that is still faced by LGBT+ people today,” comments Fletcher.

“Music and performance represent freedom and happiness which both play a huge part in what we stand for,” adds Fletcher. “Music is at the heart of our Pride celebrations in Manchester and the music we showcase helps to create a vibrant atmosphere of unity.”

Manchester Pride Live weekend tickets are priced at £64.50 plus booking fees and are available here.

 


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Lewis Capaldi, Foals: the best of TGE 2019

Over 580 artists played 780 shows in Brighton as part of the Great Escape (TGE) from Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 May, as 20,000 festival fans and music industry representatives attended venues across the seaside city.

The festival was also used as a platform for announcements from organisations including the Music Venue Trust (MVT), Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Attitude is Everything (AIE).

Foals made a return to TGE after 12 years away, playing a sold out spotlight show on Friday at the 500-capacity Concorde 2. The performance celebrated the 15th anniversary of independent, London-based record label Transgressive Records.

Lewis Capaldi, who recently sold out a UK arena tour in minutes prior to his debut album release, was another spotlight show artist, performing at the Brighton Dome (1,860).

South London post-punk band Shame came as a last minute announcement for the headline slot at the Fender Next Stage on Thursday night. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes headed up the stage the following evening and Friendly Fires played a show on Brighton beach.

Over 580 artists played 780 shows in Brighton as part of the Great Escape

Other surprise performances across the festival came from singer-songwriter James Bay and Brighton-based artist Yonaka.

The festival closed with performances from Brisbane’s Emerson Snowe, European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) forerunner Black Midi and Brit-nominated singer-songwriter Anna Calvi.

Elsewhere, there was good news for grassroots music venues, as music charity MVT announced funding breakthroughs including a £1.5 million grassroots live music fund from the Arts Council England and several industry-led initiatives.

At the TGE conference, fellow music charity AIE revealed survey findings highlighting problems with accessibility for deaf or disabled artists and MMF debuted its new song royalties guide.

This year’s conference programme focused on music education, streaming and marketing.

Early bird delegate passes for next year’s TGE are now on sale.

 


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TGE announces initial speakers and more for 2019

The Great Escape (TGE) has announced details regarding this year’s conference programme, including initial speakers, daily itineraries and music industry partners. The event will take place from 8 to 11 May in Brighton, UK.

Speakers will share insights, case studies and opinions related to the festival’s three key themes for 2019: music education, digital dollars and music marketing. The first 40 speakers include Virgin EMI Records’ Andy Knox, Insanity Group founder and chief executive Andy Varley, Fuga founder Dorothee Imhoff, Live Nation’s Jackie Wilgar and Warner Music’s Tim Fraser-Harding.

CMU Insights will launch three pieces of original research during TGE, including the first report from the ‘Redefining Music Education’ project, a ‘Song Royalties Guide’ explaining how artists are paid by streaming platforms and ‘Rethinking Music Marketing’, a new report examining the evolution of music marketing companies in the streaming era.

Speakers will share insights related to three key themes: music education, digital dollars and music marketing

At the heart of the conference are three full-day strands, each one focused on a different key theme and ending with a one-on-one interview. TGE has announced that Cassandra Gracey, president of Sony Music’s 4th Floor Creative division, will conclude the strand on music marketing.

TGE have confirmed 68 music industry partners, including BBC Music, AIM, The Box Fresh Network, Clash and Dork. Two of the partners, Believe and Julie’s Bicycle, have teamed up with TGE to stage a charity bike ride from London to Brighton this year.

The bike ride will raise money for London-based NGO Julie’s Bicycle, empowering the creative community to take action on climate change and environmental sustainability. The money raised will go towards their Green Rider initiative; a campaign that helps touring artists to work alongside venues, festivals, labels and promoters to become more sustainable.

All 2019 core conference sessions and networking events will take place at TGE’s new home at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfromt, the official delegate portal and hotel. Early bird delegate passes are now available, along with hotel packages and conference only options.

 


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TGE reveals conference themes for 2019

Following last week’s First Fifty artist announcement, the Great Escape (TGE) has announced the key themes for the 2019 conference, which takes place in Brighton, UK, from 8 to 11 May.

Australia has also been announced as lead country partner for the event, following the Netherlands this year and Switzerland in 2017.

The 2019 themes, with descriptions courtesy of TGE,  are:

Initial speakers will be announced in early 2019.

Rory Betts, CEO of organiser MAMA Festivals, comments: “We’re really proud to have a truly distinct conference programme at the Great Escape by ensuring that we have the time to dig deep into the key issues and trends of the day. When we put the focus on education in 2018, it really felt like we started a movement to more closely align music education with the music industry, so it’s great to be able to further that debate in 2019.

Meanwhile, I think we can all agree that for new artists, the big two challenges are getting noticed and getting paid – two things that will be at the fore with our full-day conferences on digital dollars and music marketing.”

All 2019 core conference sessions and networking events will take place at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfront, the official delegate portal and hotel. Delegates passes are on sale now.

 


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ACE salaries up 13% as another UK venue goes under

Pay and pension packages for the seven most senior executives at Arts Council England (ACE) totalled nearly £1m last year, its latest annual report reveals, as the organisation faces fresh questions over the lack of funding available for grassroots music venues.

ACE’s chief executive, Darren Henley, and deputy chief executives, Simon Mellor and Laura Dyer, along with executive director/CFO Elizabeth Bushell, COO Richard Russell, executive director, public policy and communication, Mags Patten, and executive director, enterprise and innovation, Francis Runacres, were paid £983,000 in the year ending 31 March 2018, according to ACE’s 2017/18 annual report and accounts.

That represents a 13% increase, or £111,000, on 2016/17, according to Arts Professional. Average pay for staff other than executive directors rose by 4.1%, from £36,300 to £37,800.

News of the ACE salary increases, which were signed off by the Arts Council’s remuneration committee, comes amid the closure of yet another small venue, the 200-capacity Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton.

A favourite of Great Escape delegates, Sticky Mike’s is a “Brighton institution” and “one of the most vibrant, community-based grassroots spaces in the whole country”, says venues association Music Venue Trust (MVT), which broke the news this morning.

“You don’t need us to tell you that venues like Sticky Mike’s can be saved for a lot less than £983,000”

“It’s also a perfect summary of where many venue operators/owners find themselves,” reads the MVT statement. “Rent, rates, costs too high, profit margins non-existent, a new development coming at them which inevitably means noise challenges, a decaying infrastructure it’s too expensive to maintain, licensing conditions which cut into business… it’s a mess, and not of their own making.

“Frankly, the team at Sticky Mike’s should get a medal for keeping it going this long. Every venue team you know is fighting these battles. We should erect statues to the lot of them.”

Sticky Mike’s will close on 31 December 2018.

IQ revealed in August that of the £1.6bn of public money that makes up ACE’s national portfolio funding for 2018–2022, just 0.06% is allocated to popular music venues.

The only two venues with contemporary music as their main programming being funded by ACE in 2018–22 are Band on the Wall (340-cap.) in Manchester and Café Oto (200-cap.) in London, both of which also received National Portfolio funding in 2015–18. Half the entire 2018–22 contemporary music budget – £14m, or £9,622 per day – was awarded to one venue: Sage Gateshead, a mixed contemporary/classical music venue and centre for music education in the north-east of England, operated by the charity North Music Trust.

“Frankly, the team at Sticky Mike’s should get a medal for keeping it going this long”

According to MVT, Sticky Mike’s could have been saved for the price of just two days’ worth of the grant given to the Royal Opera House annually.

Or, to put it another way, a lot less than the pay rise ACE awarded its own execs, MVT’s Mark Davyd tells IQ. “The pay and pension packages for the seven most senior executives at Arts Council England increased by 13% last year, by £111,000 to a total of £983,000. You don’t need us to tell you that venues like Sticky Mike’s can be saved for a lot less than £983,000. They can be saved for less than £111,000,” comments Davyd.

“This has nothing to do with whether money is available to stop the loss of culturally important, vital, community spaces like Sticky Mike’s – and everything to do with priorities, a willingness to act and a sense of urgency.”

Responding, an ACE spokesperson says: “We restructured our leadership team, meaning some staff were promoted in 2016 and received pay rises in line with their new responsibilities. Their annual pay increase was 1%. Overall, this new structure saved the Arts Council £18,000 per year. Projects helping with people’s health and wellbeing, and rehabilitation from prison, have become an increasingly important priority for us, as has our work around digital, so we’ve invested in senior leadership for these programmes so they help more people. 

“We recognise that the senior leadership team is well paid, but they are fairly rewarded in line with their level of responsibility, and in keeping with other senior public-sector salaries. Over the next four years we’ll invest at least over £100m in music – more than ever before.”

 


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